Tennessee entered their game at Florida having dropped the last eight in the rivalry and 17 in a row vs. ranked opponents. On top of all that, they went into The Swamp with major questions at quarterback.
Nathan Peterman made his first career start against perhaps the best defense in the nation in one of the more inhospitable environments in the country, and as one may expect looked like a redshirt freshman making his first start.
Peterman finished with almost as many turnovers as passing yards in Gainesville before Justin Worley relieved him. Peterman completed only four of his 11 pass attempts for five yards to go along with his two interceptions and one lost fumble.
Where oh where is Tyler Bray when you need him?
Worley was a little better, but still made some of the mind-numbing plays that got him benched after starting the first three games for Tennessee. The Vols play South Alabama at home on Saturday and my betting money is on true freshman Riley Ferguson to start.
Ferguson was a four-star recruit and it’s apparent that Worley and Peterman are not cut out for the job. It may have been a short leash, but when you’re rebuilding, as Tennessee is, it makes sense to see what you have in the youth on the roster.
A game against South Alabama is a good entry point for Butch Jones to throw a true freshman into the fray and give him confidence before a trio of games vs. Georgia, South Carolina and at Alabama in October.
It was almost fitting that the final game for Tennessee was an interception by Worley. That should be the final pass he throws all season, as Jones needs to fix the quarterback position. The biggest question he must answer is if he has a quarterback on this roster.
Right now, the answer is probably not; but Ferguson can change that, and it should start with him starting Saturday.